One of the few first-wave punk bands who not only survived to the end of the century but did so with their original sound and focus intact, Fastbacks were formed in Seattle, WA, by three high school friends, Kurt Bloch, Kim Warnick, and Lulu Gargiulo. Bloch and Warnick began playing guitar in high school while Gargiulo took lessons in classical guitar at age seven but never played rock & roll until joining the band (though photos she took at local rock shows caught Bloch's eye, sparking a friendship). All three shared a great enthusiasm for both Queen and the Ramones; Gargiulo also loved '60s pop music, Warnick was big on '70s hard rock, and Bloch's taste embraced both. In classic punk rock fashion, Fastbacks were born when Gargiulo saw some nameless band playing at a local punk club who were so horrible that she was convinced even she could do better. With Gargiulo teaching herself rock guitar, Bloch on drums, Warnick on bass, and a friend named Shannon Wood on vocals, Fastbacks began practicing in the fall of 1979 and played their first show the following February. Later that year, Wood dropped out, Warnick stepped up to the vocal mike, and Bloch abandoned the drums to take over as lead guitarist, resulting in a core lineup that would remain in place for the next 20 years. The band then hired the first of a very long line of drummers, 15-year-old Duff McKagen, who would leave after about a year to move to Los Angeles, where he later joined a fairly popular hard rock band (estimates at the number of drummers who have worked with Fastbacks range from 12 to 20). In April 1981, the band released their first single, "It's Your Birthday"/"You Can't Be Happy," which found their basic sound already firmly in place -- loose, scrappy punk rock with strong pop hooks, punctuated by Bloch's Rick Nielsen-meets-Johnny Ramone guitar solos, Warnick and Gargiulo's singalong harmonies, and Bloch's songs, which struck a balance between self-effacing humor and introspective self-analysis without sounding pretentious.